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5 Spring credit card tips and gardening ideas

Credit card and gardening experts offer advice on how to earn seasonal rewards on all things green

Summary

If you’re looking forward to a gardening project this spring, credit card rewards, cash back bonuses and coupons can help offset expenses. Here’s how to save on garden supplies and outdoor goodies.

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Credit card rewards are like a garden: Cultivated properly, both can add a bit of green to your life.

And if you’re planting a garden this spring, or just want to liven up your outdoor areas, credit card rewards might be able to add a little extra green to your wallet, too.

Here are five tips for making the most of card rewards, discounts and deals on garden supplies and outdoor goodies this spring – along with a few strategies from pro gardeners for your outdoor spaces:

See related: Best cards for home improvement

1. Swap rewards for discounted gift cards

Some card issuers let you trade points or miles for gift cards.  Even better, some sell them at a discount.

A gift card that you buy at 20 percent off means you essentially get a 20 percent discount on everything you purchase with that gift card.

When Stephanie Nelson recently redecorated her home, she used a spreadsheet to figure out how to make the most of her card points and rewards. And with her Discover and Chase Freedom cards, that meant cashing in points for retailer gift cards.

“What I find is I can stretch my value further if I get gift cards,” she recalls. In addition, Discover offers at least a $5 bonus if you get gift cards instead of cash, explains Nelson, founder of CouponMom.com.

Some Citi cards may also offer an additional 10 percent or more when you redeem its “Thank You” points for gift cards.

2. Get more rewards for what you buy

A few cards are offering quarterly bonus rewards categories this spring that will make it easier to green the garden and add to your rewards.

From April through June, the bonus rotating categories for Chase Freedom include home improvement stores and grocery stores, says Ashley Dodd, spokesperson for JPMorgan Chase. Both of those can be good sources of items for the garden and outdoors.

Chase Freedom gives you 5 percent cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases every quarter – just make sure to activate the quarterly rotating category bonus.

Other cards, including U.S. Bank Cash+ Visa Signature Card and Bank of America® Cash Rewards, let you select your own rewards categories.

If your card allows you to choose categories annually, you’ll probably rack up more points if you pick something you spend big bucks on throughout the year – like travel, groceries or gas.

But if you can change categories quarterly or monthly and you want to spend some money on your own corner of the great outdoors, it can pay to adjust those bonus categories accordingly for spring.

See related: 8 tips for choosing bonus categories on your rewards card

3. Arm yourself with discounts

Gone are the days when you have to clip and file to save. These days, with a few trusty coupon sites and a phone, you can go online or into a store with your card and a gigabyte of coupons at your fingertips.

And these are coupons that are offering “about 20 to 70 percent off,” says Melanie Lowe, partner and spokesperson for CouponCabin.com.

A few hacks to try: 

  • RetailMeNot’s Genie browser extension, which will notify you of coupon codes and cash back offers for an item you’re about to buy online and even test them for you to see if they’re still valid, says Nelson.
  • CouponCabin will let you search by category – including its Home & Garden page – so that you can spend your time perusing coupons on only what you need. Saving time and money? Win-win.
  • Amex Offers from American Express. Load special deals onto your card and you’ll get the discounted price automatically when you use the card to pay. But it’s up to you to regularly scope out the offers page and select the deals you want. And if you have a Chase card, consider Chase Offers.


4. Harvest cash back opportunities

Shop online with your rewards cards? A few coupon sites, including CouponCabin and RetailMeNot, are now offering cash back, too. Other cash back sites offering deals on gardening purchases include Ebates and TopCashBack.

You can layer those savings, in addition to what you earn from card deals and rewards.

5. Look for garden-store giveaways

In the spring, your local nursery or garden center or garden department will have all kinds of giveaways and loss leaders, says Lowe.

Look for everything, from a selection of plants priced super low to get you into the store, to a free packet of seeds with your purchase.

Another way to save (and learn about the best deals) is by signing up to be on the email lists of your favorite gardening and outdoor stores, she says.

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Published: April 3, 2019

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